We’re Headed to Atlanta Tech Village!

imageWe’ve been working hard in the last month to finalize a location for our Academy classes and we’ve been touring spaces all around Atlanta.

To be honest, it’s been one of the most frustrating series of experiences I’ve had in a while as things with real estate never quite work out exactly how you’d like them to work out (but that’s just the nature of the beast, as they say).

Regardless, I’m happy to report that we’ve landed in a location that makes a lot of sense for a whole bunch of reasons and we’re excited to publicly announce our partnership with Atlanta Tech Village! Here’s a few reasons why this is going to be an epic start to our Atlanta Campus:

  1. All About Engineering – The ATV doesn’t house “code monkeys” and we don’t train those types of students either. We’re all about creating professional-grade engineers who can tackle real-world problems day #1. It’s a culture and ecosystem that will be as natural as breathing.
  2. A Growing Ecosystem – The talent pool (and financial pool) @ ATV is large and growing and that’s good for our students and for future employers. Natural collision between our students and all the rest of the community will make for some great stories besides great career opportunities.
  3. Mission-Driven: We are a mission-driven company, through and through as we are on-mission to solve a growing crisis of a growing gap between available engineering talent and those that need that talent today. Job creation is at the heart of what we do and it’s also what drives ATV.
  4. All In The Family: We have worked out a great partnership with the folks at ATV to have our students be a literal part of the family taking advantage of all the natural resources and events that make the ATV special. Are you a family member of the Iron Yard? Great! You’re also a member of the ATV community at large. Wonderful!
  5. Flexible: I’ve been working with Erin Rosintoski (you ROCK!) for the past few months working out not just a strategic plan but also a tactical one that’ll get our classes up and running amidst a heck of a lot of construction and renovation. They are flexible and agile just as we are and that makes for a fun-time and a level-setting of expectations that make me smile.
  6. Startups & More: They are all about startups and so are we. I dig this, a lot!

Ahh… I can sit back for a bit and just finally relax that we’ve locked down a space for the time being that’ll get our students the education that they need for serious life-change.

Thanks again to Erin and the team @ ATV for helping us get settled; sure, we’ve got a lot of work still to do to prep the space but that’ll be the easy part as compared to the rest of the work that we’ve walked through together!
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 Click for Map

Atlanta Technology Village
3423 Piedmont Road Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30305

Stoked!

Get Trained By Practitioners

One of the best things about the instructors that we have teaching the Academy Program here at The Iron Yard is the fact that every single one of them are very much practitioners in their skills and craft.

In other words, they maintain a high degree of fluency within their respective technical fields by continuing to experiment and build products and applications in their free time. For example, our iOS Instructor, Jo Albright, recently launched a nifty little app called Liltool:

A very powerful illustration tool, that has a simplistic user experience. You can easily save your designs through services like Dropbox for additional editing or to use on the web.

Here are a few screengrabs:

The point of this post is not only to celebrate Jo building a neat iOS application but also to challenge those that are looking to become engineers yourself this year: Are you being trained by those that are still “practicing” their software development skills in real life or by those that haven’t been “in the field” in a long time?

Even for myself I am actively building an iOS app (and an OS X app) that keeps me fresh and on the continual path of learning. So if you’re interested in mobile programming and interested in being a part of one of the fastest growing technological market segments, you should sign up for our upcoming iOS course.

Now’s the time!

Atlanta is the #1 Moving Destination (Start a New Career Here!)

Let the stats speak for themselves! According to Penske as it relates to Atlanta:

  • Median household income: $46,146
  • Average listing price: $244,000
  • U.S. size ranking: 33
  • Average temperature in May: 79 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Famous for: international sports, soft drinks, Georgia peaches

The bottom-line? Atlanta is (for the third year in a row) the top place to move to. Set up shop here, start a new career, and make 2014 one amazing year!

Looking for other places? Sure, check out the infographic:

Oh, look at that… we’re also looking at establishing an Iron Yard in Tampa too (but you should still come to Atlanta first!).

So what are you waiting for? Sign up soon as classes are starting to fill up!

Mobile Engineering : Stretching

You know how everyone tells you never to start a workout without getting warmed up. It doesn’t matter if you workout everyday or every month, your muscles need to be prepped before a workout.

The same idea applies to your brain, or at least it does for mine. It is always helpful to build practice time into your work routine. Makes sense, right?

For most people it could be as simple as going to online resources like Codecademy or Khan Academy. But for me I like taking on challenges to build out actual products and take it through the whole process.

I came across a contest to build a calculator app, and realized this would be one of the ways for me to start giving back to my community. But instead of submitting and forgetting about this app, I decided to take it a little further. Thinking about the future of the Mobile Engineering class, I felt like it would be good to have an open source app on Apple’s App Store. Building an app open source that is live on the app store allows for a few benefits.

  1. This allows students to see how simple an app can be to be placed on the app store.
  2. Students can add major commits and use this on their resume as an app in the app store.
  3. This has huge potential to be come even better than the current Apple calculator, by having the community add and refine features.
  4. Users can easily submit bugs or feature requests to help enhance the app.

This is going to be a fun new experiment for me to see what comes out of a community driven app. There have been a few other apps to open source their code as well, but one specifically, Cheddar, has me very interested in what the future will be for indie app developers and open source work.

Photo credit: Rennett Stowe via photopin cc

Location, Location, Location!

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For those that have ever experienced buying real estate or going through the process of home ownership you know the pressure intimately in regards to finding the right location.

We agonize over many of the details but before we ever get to that point we have to feel comfortable about where we’re going to land as the place (hopefully) is to be there for quite some time and the investment (financially, emotionally, physically) is a big one.

That has been the #1 challenge in the past month or so for us here in Atlanta – where the heck are we actually going to land?!? We’ve toured a ton of places and have even created a number of proposals for a few of them that have looked very promising.

Unfortunately we’ve also encountered a host of setbacks as well; even a few where we’ve felt like we’ve “landed” only to be told that something outside of our control was going to happen and that the space wouldn’t be ready until much, much later.

Argh! There’s nothing more frustrating than waving money in someone’s face and begging them to take your money in exchange for a great spot only to discover that they have other plans for it! It’s no one’s fault, by the way – it just is what it is sometimes!

But we’re getting close and we’ve got some final considerations that we’re walking through and I’m trying my darnest to close asap so that potential students can plan accordingly from the logistical end of things!

We are building an incredible story here in Atlanta and I’m so grateful to all the support that we’ve experienced and all the network that’s come around us letting us know that what we’re doing is vitally important. That keeps us going and definitely stokes the fires of motivation.

A Look at the First Day of Class

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0a5RrZxmxE&feature=youtu.be

Above you can see a very quick peek at the first day of class in our Greenville Code Academy location and the experience that we’ve created for our students. You can also read about the first weeks’ retrospective here as well.

For Atlanta we’ll be building a very similar experience for all three concentrations (Front End Engineering, iOS, and Ruby) except we’ll be landing in a sweet location downtown which we hope to finalize this week or so – so stay tuned!

This should be an incredible year for our students, one full of life change and exciting new potential. It is really an honor and a privilege to be part of something so crucial and foundational in someone else’s life.

We’ve got a lot to build here in Atlanta and we hope you can be a part of it – we’ll have some neat introduction events as well as get togethers in the upcoming weeks so I hope you can be a part of that!

And, as usual, if you’d like to connect with us and be a part of what we are doing here in Atlanta then feel free to hit us up – we are always available to chat!

Greenville: On the Ground

Jo and I are on the ground in Greenville all this week joining the team with the launch of 2014’s first Front End class and we began with a dinner celebration for the students and their commitment to significant life change.

Hanging out with the students @ The Growler Station gave me a fresh taste of how unique the students are and how far some of them have traveled to be here. In addition, many of them have left families (a few have left a wife and 4 kiddos!) to make this happen.

I couldn’t be more stoked.
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The Growler Station

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Students are ready!
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The Team (so far… we’re growing like crazy!)

Above are a few images of the experience as well as our CMO, Eric, introducing our “Take That To the Bank” guarantee about the experience:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WP-NlryzkE&feature=youtu.be

Our goal this week for the Atlanta Team is to experience the class first-hand as well as begin to codify our own experience that we’ll be bringing to Atlanta. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us but we’re ready to get crackin’!

In other news, we’ve also hired our Ruby Instructor! I couldn’t be more stoked about that and we’ll be announcing that soon. We are still looking for a Front End Instructor as well as a Campus Director – please apply here!

Stoked!

The Excitement of Starting Something New

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 Jo and I hacking together a campus.

Every single day I find myself nearly drowning in the amount of work that needs to get done in what feels like just a few limited number of hours in the day. You probably know what that’s like with all that you’ve got going on yourself!


With the impending launch of the Atlanta campus I find myself in a very unique place with a growing global staff as well as the specific staff here in the city of Atlanta. It’s very much like a startup within a larger startup (although TIY has been around the block a few years and has more than enough earned stripes!).

The excitement is palpable and every week the momentum is building as we make critical decisions ranging from where we should open the Atlanta campus to what technology platforms we should commit to as well as interviewing (and hiring) top talent.

For example, this week we toured a number of locations and have been reviewing a number of attractive proposals from great organizations. Listing the pros and cons of each opportunity is staggering and it can be difficult to sort through all the available options. In such instances I’m glad I’m not doing it alone and meeting up with Jo Albright (our new iOS instructor!) to walk through one of the spaces helps me bear the load nicely.

Yet in these times of great tumult I challenge myself to take a step back and realize how amazing these moments truly are – if you can just take it all in for a moment and see it all for what it really is you can begin to appreciate not only enormity of the challenge but also the weighty responsibility of making it happen with excellence.

You also begin to realize how fortunate and blessed you are to have been chosen to command an effort to make it all wildly successful. What a privilege and honor it is to do something so new and so personally invigorating.

In that regard, I’m still looking for a few quality people to join the ranks of the Atlanta-based team to do more than just build a campus – I want to find the right people to build and impact the techno-culture for the better. I want them to be humbled by the task before them but at the same time bold enough (and stubborn perhaps) to believe that they can knock it out of the park.

There are only a few times in our lives where we’ll have the opportunity to really work on extraordinary problems as well as work with extraordinary people. I hope this year is one of them for the record books for you!

Let’s do it.

Hello World!

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There’s only one way to start up a new blog and that’s with your classy Hello World! post!

To say that I’m excited would be a general understatement – The Iron Yard has been growing full-tilt in nearly every direction and it’s hard to grasp at times how quickly things are panning out and scaling for this year. Even though we’re only into the second week I feel like we’ve accomplished so much and yet at the very same time there’s so much more to do!

And we hope that you’ll be a part of our expansion into the Atlanta airspace as we attempt to create incredible value for our growing network.

More specifically, we’re building an Atlanta-based code school and are in the final stages of finding a location for the school as well as hiring some of the best and the brightest for instructor roles (we’d love to chat if you’re interested!), and that’s just the start!

Needless to say, there’s a lot going on and this blog will serve as a vehicle of communication as we build the community here and find our unique place in the greater Atlanta technology and education scene.

So stay tuned and make sure you follow this blog as well as the global Twitter account (@TheIronYard) and lookout specifically for the Atlanta-specific news.

Again, I couldn’t be more excited but we’ll need your help to build a firm and growing foundation for our collective success. You can always hit me up personally on Twitter (@Saddington) as I’ll be the go-to guy here or email me (john[at]theironyard[dot]com).

Looking forward to it friends!